COVID-19 test to be required for some travellers 3 days prior to entering Singapore: MOH

·Senior Editor
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People seen wearing face masks at Changi Airport's Terminal 3 on 6 February 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
People seen wearing face masks at Changi Airport's Terminal 3 on 6 February 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — All inbound travellers who are not citizens or permanent residents, and are not from “lower-risk” countries or regions, will soon be required to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours of departing for Singapore.

The new regulations will come into effect from 11.59pm on 17 November, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a news release on Tuesday (10 November).

“These travellers will still be required to serve their (Stay-Home Notice) upon arrival in Singapore and be tested at the end of their SHN,” said the ministry.

Currently, travellers who are not citizens or PRs, and have a travel history to India, Indonesia and the Philippines are required to present a valid negative PCR test prior to entering or transferring through Singapore.

The lower-risk countries include Brunei, New Zealand, Vietnam, Australia and mainland China, for which travellers are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Singapore, in lieu of an SHN.

Another group of lower-risk travellers, those from Macao, Malaysia – excluding Sabah – and Taiwan, are required to serve a seven-day SHN at their place of residence with a COVID-19 test administered at the end that period. This also applies to travellers from Hong Kong who do not fall under the approved Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble.

At a virtual media briefing on Tuesday evening, Education Minister Lawrence Wong was asked if Singapore would consider travel bubbles with the likes of Macau and Taiwan, which have both reported zero cases in recent months. Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry taskforce on the coronavirus, replied, “I would say our general posture is for countries that are safe, low risk, of similar incidents as us, we would be very happy to discuss air travel bubbles with them.

Wong noted that border controls are an “existential issue” for Singapore because of its small size and its need to connect to the world. “We have to reopen our borders but we are doing so safely and with a risk managed approach comprising multiple lines of safeguards.”

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